Everton continues to suffer through a summer full of ill-fated or totally unrealistic transfer rumours.
This week, the club were heavily rumored to be competing for the signature of Colombian international and former Wigan Athletic forward Hugo Rodallega. The free agent would have come with no fee, but it was claimed the Everton would struggle to meet his wage demands.
Nevertheless, the player who managed only 2 goals for Wigan in the 2011-12 season, signed for Fulham following the pleas of Dutch manager Martin Jol. Most Everton fans will not see this as much of a loss, considering the continued prioritization of Steven Pienaar, who would come with a heftier price tag than the £3 million he was sold for two seasons ago.
Contrary to many reports, Croatian midfielder Danijel Pranjic also decided to sign elsewhere and will join Sporting Lisbon in the Liga Portuguesa this summer.
Everton's lack of pursuit for the experienced international and former Bayern Munich player could be a sign that Leighton Baines will be staying put this season.
With the player wanting to stay at the club and an offer of under £20 million not likely to force Everton's hand, it is still strange to find reports claiming Manchester United will bid £10 million for the 26-year-old England international. Baines is arguably the best left-back in Britain and was an Everton supporter in his youth.
However, the club continues to suffer through financial hardship and may not be able to purchase any more players this summer without some sales. So an eventual transfer of a star like Baines or midfielder Marouane Fellaini is not too improbable.
For the time being, it seems that Everton will continue to look for cheap buys and free transfers to possibly supplement this squad.
There have been numerous rumors this week that 32-year-old forward Michael Owen will be joining the club as a probable back-up to Nikica Jelavic. In most cases, this would be considered unlikely considering Owen's possible wage demands following three seasons at Manchester United.
But, Everton legend Graeme Sharp came out this week to show his support for the player. The former England striker, born in and for many years a resident of Liverpool, might feel right at home if the club does offer him a contract.
Finally, Everton played their first preseason friendly yesterday as they took on League 2 side Morecambe in Jim Bentley's testimonial and final match for the club. A prominent group of traveling supporters—2,060 in total—were not left disappointed as the club won 4-1, with goals from Francisco Junior, Apostolos Vellios, Victor Anichebe and a renewed Jack Rodwell.
The club will continue their preseason preparations on Wednesday evening as they take on Dundee United in Scotland